Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paying the piper

For the past three decades, our living colonies have continued to spread out to form suburbs. And, with that shift has come increased numbers of commuters and bottlenecked rush hours, a price we may or may not have agreed to pay when we moved into our suburban homes.

One significant price to pay for living in the ’burbs is fuel cost. It’s time to pay the piper.

Even in Missouri, a historically low-cost state to live in, gasoline was at $3.10 earlier this week at my neighborhood stop.

I have been cursing the trend every time I turn the ignition to drive 19.6 miles to the office. Yes, I have calculated it to an exact figure, something I would never likely have done just a few years ago.

Curbing a lead foot is tough, but I have become superbly alert behind the wheel as of late. I do my best to anticipate where I can coast without using the accelerator or brake. Not only that, but I would say I drive an average of 5 mph slower than I did just two years ago.

I opt for fewer miles on city streets as opposed to going a mile out of my way to catch the faster-paced interstate. Shorter distance is better for mileage in my case. I’ve even taken to shutting off the ignition when I get held up by a lengthy stoplight or a train crossing.

Occasionally, I see some people trying to draft big trucks to gain an advantage, but I do my best to give the truckers some space. A few pennies are not worth the safety risk, so I would suggest dodging that type of draft.

It’s not just about being pro-environment; it’s about being pro-pocketbook.

In my recent travails, I have come to truly appreciate what truckers go through to get from point A to point B, because fuel costs are a real pain in the bottom line.